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January 2008 Issue

Bachelor Pad: Outside Edition
Surfacedesign Inc. creates a groovy garden for a single guy.

By Susan Hines

Bachelor Pad: Putside Edition Courtesy of Reuben Cox

When Mark Erman bought his San Francisco apartment it was carefully staged for sale, and he didn’t really notice the backyard. By the time he moved in and focused on it, the grass had withered and the fountain had become a bathing spot for the local raccoon population.

“I thought I should have it replanted,” says Erman, who was in his early 30s at the time. But an artist friend suggested he talk to James Lord, ASLA, who had just started his own firm, Surfacedesign Inc., with partners Roderick R. Wyllie and Geoff di Girolamo. “They really got me,” Erman says. “I don’t know if it was looking around my place or if they could just read me. They showed me two drawings, and this very simple geometric concept made sense to me.”

A young client teams with a freshly minted firm and a 2007 ASLA Residential Honor Award winner is created on a budget of less than $70,000. It’s rather unheard of, and in October, Landscape Architecture paid a visit.

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